Luke Chess' Cannes Diary: Day Three

2012 Outdoor Jury.jpgLuke Chess, creative director at Clemenger BBDO, Sydney is Australia's representative on the Cannes Outdoor Lions jury. Chess (in the green t-shirt), along with most of the Australian and NZ jurors, is course reporting exclusively for CB.

I Should Get Outdoors More.

I used to mock those who complained that judging at Cannes is a brutal and unrelenting task. Now I'm one of them.

It all started innocently enough. The judges' welcome dinner last night served only to convince me of two things:
1.    My first impression of my fellow jurors was right--they are without exception some of the nicest yet most scarily talented folk you'd ever want to meet; and
2.    Terry Savage (Australia's Cannes Lions Executive Chairman) doesn't eat, but rather draws all of his nutrients from cigarettes and red wine. Impressive.

A merry totter back to the hotel and straight to sleep.

Then awake at 4.30am (lunchtime back in Sydney). Not bad for a first night.

A few work emails till 7ish, then down to the restaurant for a AU$42 breakfast. Ate four courses to be sure of getting my money's worth.

Screen shot 2012-06-16 at 1.27.42 PM.jpgBy the time we got to the Palais des Festivals, I was thoroughly enjoying the false sense of security into which I'd been either lured or lulled. It didn't last long.

The first hint of things to come was in the briefings from Terry S and jury president Lo Sheung (Mayan) Yan. Among the somewhat expected cautions around scam and overt national prejudices, there was a pervading sense that this is some serious shit we've all gotten ourselves into, and we'd better treat it as such.

The incredibly sophisticated judging technology further added to that impression. These Lions are a big deal, competed for fairly but firmly by some 100-odd countries. We'd better get them more than approximately close to right.

Some facts at this point. There are just on 4800 Outdoor entries this year. Too many for the entire jury to consider as one, so we split into three 'shortlisting juries', called A, B and C. (Hardly creative naming, but I told you it was a serious business.)

My sub-jury (B) began with category C02--Ambient, Small Scale Special Solutions. There were about 50 entries from memory, most with a case study video. By the time we were done, it was lunch time.

Lunch consisted of looking out upon the eponymous azure coastline, and pondering the fact that instead of swimming for the afternoon we had about 320 more entries to get through.

It was at this point that we each mentally did the maths and realised we needed to cut our present 3½ minutes per entry significantly if we wanted to finish judging before, say, the presentations themselves were scheduled.

The afternoon and alas evening was a blur of: more videos (some helpful, many unnecessary); a lot of work involving stencils, urinals, projections and facebook interfaces; and very brief periods of smug 'I could do better' self-satisfaction regularly punctured by work that you'd give your frontal lobe simply to have thought of, let alone gotten to run.

Fifteen hours after we'd arrived, we left. Though there's at least another 350 entries awaiting us for shortlisting tomorrow.

It's a brutal and unrelenting task. Feel free to mock away.

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